Lesson 8 - Introduction

  

As we begin this overview of Principle 12, we have the tremendous blessing and ability to take a moment to see the faithfulness of God during our journey. By now, we have observed and experienced the changes that have transpired within our hearts and lives. These changes were at first imperceptible from our vantage point, but with the encouragement and exhortation from our fellow brothers and sisters in the LORD, we began to see the truth of this transformation.

The final phase of this transformation is serving. There are four items that verify the supernatural change of our heart and character. These are (1) the ability to humble ourselves before God, (2) the desire to be fully dependent upon Him, (3) the ability to accept help from others, and finally, (4) the ability to deny ourselves and be a servant to others. 

Observe the ecosystem of a lake. A lake has both an inlet and an outlet, whereas a pond has only an inlet. Lakes are kept fresh and alive because of current and waves. Waves come in, lap upon the shore, and produce oxygen in the water. An outlet creates a current which helps regulate the temperature and keeps the circulation of the oxygen fresh and full. In contrast, a pond can also have waves but it becomes stale and infested with algae because there is no outlet. The algae absorb all the oxygen suffocating the life in the pond. Algae live on carbon dioxide produced by the warm water and the decomposing life within the pond. This decomposition process takes place because there isn’t an outlet to complete the circulatory system (which regulates the temperature and keeps the water fresh).

When we serve others, we allow the supernatural circulatory system to work. This is seen in the process of receiving and giving. God is the giver of every good and perfect gift. The more we give to others, the more we receive from Him. The more we receive from Him, the more we desire to give in His name. The more grace is revealed and acknowledged from the heart, the more outpouring of gratitude will flow from it. The more gratitude we have, the more we will desire and be enabled to give. The more we give, the more maturity in Christ is manifested and observed and the more we will receive from God to give to others.

The more we are changed into the image of Christ, the more we will be aware of our sins. The more we are made aware of our sins, the less we will be apt to lean upon ourselves. The less we lean upon ourselves, the more humble we will become. The more humble we are made to be, the more God will lift us up. Scripture makes it very clear that the longer we abide in Christ, the more the desire will grow within us to be made like Him. This is the direct result of the manifestation of grace within our lives.

The order of our new priority list in Christ reads like this—Jesus first, others second, and self last. This is a change that only God can reveal and manifest within us, and it takes Him to change our narcissistic ways. Only by being a Spirit-filled child of God are we enabled to overcome our self-centeredness and the action it causes which is selfishness. This is a daily battle for the Christian, new or old, and it lasts for a lifetime.

With these things in mind, let’s turn our attention to the final principle. Before we start though, let’s pray to the Lord to open our hearts to reveal His truths for you. These are necessary to give us vision, hope, desire, and life to move through trials and tribulations that life will confront us with.